By Binebai Princewill
The people of Gbekebor community in Ogbolubiri Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State is facing the worse moments of their lives as flood ravages the community.
According to Amb. ( Dr). Alapala Anthony Ebitonmo, former aspirant Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Delta State House of Assembly, Burutu North who hinted The Liberator Newspapers on the situation noted that his people are now roaming about in the water occasioned by the rampaging flood.
Dr. Alapala, popularly known as Odumalagba opined that the community had described the scenario as a period of “woes and doom” for Gbekebor community, his hometown, stressing that both economic, social, religious and educational activities have been halted by the flood.
The revered Niger Delta Youth leader had called on the state Government and other relevant stakeholders in Nigeria to rise to the aid of the Gbekebor people as their case is peculiar, hence the need to construct IDP camps and sending of relief materials to ameliorate their sufferings.
He continued that the flood comes with varying health challenges inflicted on the people, stating that all lives matters in the country as the people in the creeks of Delta State must be attended to in their trying times.
“Over the years flood hazard poses threat to the continuous existence of the coastal Community (GBEKEBOR) in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State. This protracted annual environmental problem which causes grievous damages to the residents of the community had been aired severally in both electronics and printed media by way of appealing to the Nigerian Government to come to our aid but left unattended.
“It is indeed a matter of grave regret, that due to the current flood water, socio-economic activities in the community are brought to a halt, properties worth millions of naira are being destroyed and residents rendered homeless.
“As a result of this annual event of flood in the community the inhabitants have tagged this period “a period of woes and dooms”. Besides, apart from the socio-economic implications of the flood on the community, diverse health cases are recorded, all educational activities paralyzed, private and public school buildings are submerged by the flooded water. Consequently, there is widespread outcry by owners of houses, shops, carpentry workshops, churches and schools on the negative effects of flood on their properties and as well as displaced persons.
“Furthermore, it is almost all Ijaw communities in the riverine areas in the Niger Delta Region that do experience this widespread inundation but the GBEKEBOR case is peculiar because of the collapse of the seawall, coupled with the geographical location of the town, where it is exposed to the direct water current of the River Niger.
“The Gbekebor case is explicitly most intensely aggravated consequent upon the fact that there is an Island of a very THICK GRASSY RIVER BANK about 3km put together formed at the mouth of the confluence of the Forcados River.
“Unfortunately, Gbekebor town is geographically located on this confluence, and so, the community is environmentally disadvantaged, being annually faced with ecological disaster which culminated in the fact that the thick grassy river bank dictates the channel of the water current during flood seasons and this is negatively hitting directly at the helpless town.
“Therefore, the community is passionately appealing to the State and Federal Ministries of Environment, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Ecological Intervention Fund Office, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), His Excellency Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta State to come to our aid and save us from the age-long pathetic situation, by constructing SHORELINE PROTECTION REVETMENT AND RECLAMATION, clear and extirpate the THICK GRASSY RIVER BANK and perhaps distribute relief materials to the community to alleviate our sufferings.